Extension of So-Called ‘Global Gag Rule’ to HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs Would ‘Endanger Women’s Lives,’ Letter to Editor Says
The Bush administration is taking "concrete steps" to expand the so-called "global gag rule" -- which bans U.S. funding from going to international organizations that discuss or provide abortion services -- to funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programs, Marianne Mollmann, a researcher in the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor in response to a Jan. 9 Times editorial (Mollmann, New York Times, 1/13). The editorial says in Latin America, where abortion is illegal in most of the region, high abortion rates are "proof that criminalizing abortion doesn't reduce abortion rates and only endangers the lives of women." The Times adds that the global gag rule has "silenced some respected and influential groups" in Latin America that advocate for abortion rights (New York Times, 1/6). According to Mollmann, the U.S. in November 2005 attached "gag rule conditions" to a funding proposal for an HIV/AIDS prevention program in Kenya. "The expansion of this rule to HIV prevention financing would be a good way to endanger women's lives, but a very bad way to prevent both abortion and the spread of HIV," Mollmann concludes (New York Times, 1/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.